A Smorgasbord of Complaints

Like most sane humans, sometimes I am happy and sometimes I am sad. Sometimes I like stuff and sometimes I don’t. And when I don’t, I feel the need to rant mindlessly and endlessly, no matter how minor the annoyance. So now I present to you a smorgasbord of complaints.

CAPTCHA
ohmygod. I hate CAPTCHA. And anything that uses its interface. At first, it was normal and reasonable. Put a squiggly line in the middle of some words so bots can’t use “segmentation” to decipher the meaning. The words aren’t warped much and are in a perfectly readable font. Most of all, they’re WORDS. At this point, I was fine with CAPTCHA. But as technology got smarter, CAPTCHA had to adapt, and that meant warping the jumble of letters and numbers more…

and more…

and more…

Okay, fine. Maybe I exaggerated a LITTLE bit. But still. I’m sure that robots can’t read this stuff, but neither can I. Prove that you’re human? Prove you have superhuman crap-deciphering chips implanted in your eyes.

Slow App Loading Screens
This is by far the pettiest of complaints by anyone’s scale, and nonetheless it irritates me to insanity. Don’t you just hate it when  you want to play Draw Something, but that stupid pencil logo takes FOREVER to transition to the actual game screen? No? Just me? Fine. But seriously, slow loading screens are just a turnoff in an app. I’ve stopped using apps just because I’m too lazy to wait through the loading screen. Pop-up ads? Sure. Laggy games? No problem. And yet somehow, it’s the minute-long loading screen that deters me from using an app. I guess this shows something about how useful first impressions are. And about my patience level.

Bad Grammar Online
And I don’t mean typos. Everyone makes typos. Just please strain your half-dead brain cells just a little bit more to remember simple grammar rules you learned in third grade. Not fancy stuff with correct usage of gerunds and passive voice, but simple your/you’re and there/their/they’re. If you respond “your welcome” when someone says thank you, you will have pissed me off so much, no matter how pleasant your intentions. YOUR WELCOME? OR MY WELCOME? OR HIS WELCOME? SHARE THE WELCOME, GUYS.  And just not writing normally. I swear, not capitalizing ANYTHING is way better than people who go “Today I Failed My English Test . I Really Wonder Why .” Don’t put spaces before punctuation marks–just don’t. You know those annoying facebook friends who type like that (not to mention embellished with squiggles that don’t mean anything~~), thinking that the meaningless “deep reflections” about their relationship will sound more important. And please don’t say “pplz” or “lolz.” Zs do not make you cool. Z is for Zero. Zero is how cool you are when you say that. “ZOMGZ!” does not make your opinion any better than someone who says “OMG!” (psst. “swag” is not an excuse for bad grammar, as the following person doesn’t seem to realize)

or anything else, for that matter.

Inappropriate #YOLOs
Sometimes YOLO is worth saying. I mean, it’s not like everyone thought we all lived twice before YOLO, but it would work in some situations (A good old-fashioned “carpe diem” would be fine too, and you’d sound a hell of a lot smarter).
When YOLO is okay:
“Just ziplined across part of the Amazon rainforest. #yolo”
“Spending a day walking through Venice without a map or a plan. #yolo”
When YOLO is not okay:
“Got a caramel macchiato at starbuckssss! <33 #YOLO #SWAG”
“went 2 see avengerz @ da moviez! yoloo!”
Simple lesson.

My Computer
If I accidentally kick the side of the computer when I’m sitting, my computer will shut down. Enough said; you can see why this might bother me.

Now, you probably consider me a very pessimistic person. To prove that, in fact, I DO have a sunny side (hey, this is called “sunstreakedworld”), sometime next week I’ll be posting things in life that I just can’t get enough of. Much appreciated that you bore with me through this rant.

A Beginning Clammer’s Guide to Being Happy as a Clam

A few weeks ago, I took a trip to Whidbey Island–the biggest of the one-hundred-and-seventy-two islands that comprise the San Juan Islands in Puget Sound. Normally, one of my favorite activities during my trips is clam digging. Pacific Northwest beaches may be rocky and cold, but food is probably present in every nook and cranny of the sand and water, whether it be crabs, clams, oysters, mussels, or numerous species of fish. Unfortunately, during our stay most beaches were closed due to pollution warnings. I decided to go to the larger of the two beaches open, Double Bluff Beach.

(note: not my photo)

On day one, I found approximately five clams in an hour. FIVE CLAMS. I thought I’d been doing everything correctly; I looked for clam shows in the sand, dug from the ocean-side of the show, and sifted carefully through the lump of cracked sand. There was too much labor-intensive digging and too little physical reward involved in this exercise.

On day two, I decided to go to the other side of the beach to look for clams, near the cliff and the “double bluffs” the park is named after. I’d highly recommend shoes, and not flip-flops. During low tide, the ground over there is a mess of stagnant puddles, sharp rocks, and dead crabs with everything covered in a very painful layer of barnacles. I’m sure those of you who have gone to look at tide pools know what I’m talking about; this is nothing like the smooth, flat expanse of sand in the midsection of the beach. It’s probably a half mile’s walk to the cliff from the normal visitor entrance to the beach. Let’s just say that

Bad time ski instructor 1 - if you try to dig in those rocks you're gonna have a bad time

I promise. It’s insanely hard, and digging through the rocky mess will not be kind to your fingers. Even though I did find ten or so medium sized clams, it again took way too much work to get them.

On day three, I struck gold. I walked  around to the other side of the cliff, where it was also rocky, but not nearly as barnacle-y and there was a good amount of sand too. That’s what’s important–a perfect balance of rocks and sand. After a few digs, I found a spot where one large shovelful earned me over ten manila, eastern softshell, and butter clams. So here’s what I learned in the process:

  1. If you’re digging and digging and digging and finding nothing, go somewhere else with different sand composition. As I said, the easiest method of finding the clams is to find a place with the perfect balance of rocks and sand. So you’re probably asking, “What is that?” I’d say that there are barnacles, but the ground isn’t completely covered with them, and while there are many rocks patches of sand are still visible. An area where you see a lot of broken shells and dead clams is also a good sign, since if there are dead clams there’s sure to be live ones too. Puddles are also good places to look. I learned from Day One that overturning a whole patch of sand where there aren’t many clams won’t be nearly as effective as looking for the spot. I saw many unsuccessful clammers that kept digging in the sandy, rock-less area for hours and barely found anything.
  2. Stop looking for clam shows. Stop. I know if you search probably anywhere online, they’re going to tell you to look for little dime sized depressions in the sand and tell you to dig by them. There are clam shows all over the beach and no clams underneath them. I learned that the hard way. Besides, it’s pretty hard to distinguish real clam shows from a mark a pebble made or clam shows from five hours ago from a clam that’s actually there. At one point, a clam might  have resided there, but they probably moved somewhere else by the time you saw it. Rather, either dig in a spot with an abundance of shells and test your luck (I almost always found a good spot after three or four digs since clams cluster together), or look for squirts. Clam shows are there because a clam’s neck used to stick out there and squirt water. If you see a squirt of water, you can be sure that there is a clam there, right now. However, on Double Bluff Beach there was also an abundance of sea anemones, which tend to squirt water in the same fashion.
  3. Moon snails are bad, not good. Moon snails enjoy feasting on clams, drilling perfectly round holes through the shells and littering the beach with their black egg cases (which look like round collars made of rubber). One might think that if there are moon snails (or their egg cases) in the area, clams are sure to be there too. Of course, the logic of that argument makes perfect sense–except that the clams were there, and aren’t now. Moon snails are voracious predators, and they leave shells of clams in their wake wherever they go. They probably ate all the snails in the area hours before you got there. However, I get the feeling that they dislike rocks, since I only saw one once I reached the rocky section.

So if you’re a prospective clam digger, there are my three tips to help you in your journey to seafood goodness. A lot of people probably disagree, but they worked for me so I hope they’ll work for you. Oh, and here’s a picture of how some of them turned out: 

Leavenworth and Lake Chelan

I took a recent trip to Leavenworth and Chelan, WA. Here are some of the places and scenes I’ve witnessed.

Metric Power

To me, the imperial system has always seemed bulky and unnecessary. Here’s a brief summary of its weaknesses and why the US should go metric:

Since its creation, the US has used the Imperial or English system for all means of measurement, adopting the system from its English predecessors. However, as the world evolves the metric system—developed by French scientists—began to take over. Currently, the only countries still clinging to the imperial system are the US, Liberia, and Myanmar, the US being the only major economic and political power out of the three.

One major reason to go metric is that it would make trade with other countries much easier, especially since Liberia and Myanmar aren’t exactly the US’s biggest trading powers. Converting units is always a hassle during international trade with the US, and—looking at the situation’s extremes—could turn potential trading partners away due to the annoying unit conversion.

However, the major incentive to adopt the metric system is clearly the simplicity and structured approach—it’s no wonder that scientists, who would scoff at any mention of the Imperial system for measurements, developed the base-10 system. When doing everyday tasks such as wondering how many feet of fence will go around your 154-yard-perimeter pasture or calculating how many paint buckets you need to cover a wall, the metric system is much easier since it merely involves moving around a decimal point, which is a task that even a first grader could do.

I urge the US to let go of its silly “traditions” and make life simpler for all of us by converting to the metric system.

Image

I Throw My Camera In the Air Sometimes…

I saw an interesting photo idea online–to set your camera on a 1 to 2 second shutter speed and throw it in the air, and let it take a picture.

Of course, my first impression was that you must be mentally unstable to be throwing your oh-so-cherished thousand dollar camera in the air. Terrifying imagery involving splinters of plastic and glass skyrocketing into the air after one fumble shatters your camera. However, as I looked at the picture results–I had to admit I was rather intrigued. Having very questionable hand-eye-coordination skills, I dug up an old Canon PowerShot ELPH SD600. If you decide rather impulsively (as I did) to attempt this, I recommend you try an old, cheap, lightweight camera that you wouldn’t mind TOO much if you lost. It’s also advisable to practice in a carpeted area first to at least get some practice with throwing and catching your camera.

I found that the results will be best if you put a little spin on the camera. I haven’t had time to try this in an outdoor setting, but here are a few takes that I found pretty cool:

My Trip to the Aquarium

Despite having lived in Seattle for over a decade, every once in a while I take a “tourist” trip of Seattle. This includes visiting the Space Needle, Chinatown, and doing such “tourist” things as carrying an umbrella when it rains (deemed preposterous for Seattle-area residents). A few days ago, my trip entailed visiting the aquarium.

(I apologize for the less-than-optimal picture quality)

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Sea Anemones

Starfish in Tank

Basket Coral

Coral

Bubble Coral

Sea Otters! ❤

Lionfish